The Corner

Deafening Silence

Eliot Spitzer, the Governor of my state, has achieved a thing I would have though impossible: He has made me yearn for the days of George Pataki.

Spitzer’s latest wheeze, to give state driver licenses to illegal aliens, was actually state policy for most of Pataki’s term as Governor, until Curious George changed the rules in 2003 (causing 150,000 illegals to lose their licenses). Oddly, under the pre-2003 Pataki rules, illegals could get licenses without showing a Social Security number provided they supplied documentary proof that they were ineligible for Social Security. Under Spitzer’s proposed change, an illegal no longer has to prove ineligibility, only affirm it under oath. Spitzer’s rules are laxer than pre-2003 Pataki’s.

Our New York newspapers, with the honorable exception of the Post, of course, think Spitzer’s idea is just wonderful. The strongest criticism of him—see, for example, today’s editorial in Newsday—is that he got the timing wrong. Spiffy idea: bad moment to put it forward.

From that editorial:

There’s probably no swaying officials who see this as an immigration issue.

Those dimwits! Why on earth would anyone think it’s an immigration issue?

…there are a million undocumented immigrants in the state … we will never deport all those people, and … many of them drive now, without license or insurance.

Isn’t driving without license or insurance a crime in New York State? If a person is living here illegally—oops, sorry, undocumentedly—and is caught committing further crimes, wouldn’t it be right and proper to deport that person?

Meanwhile, the continuting silence from our two U.S. Senators on this issue gets deeper and thicker. If either Schumer or Clinton has said a word about it, I missed that. Perhaps someone should ask them.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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